Designed by the renowned architectural firm I.M. Pei, Cobb, Freed and Partners, the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center is a landmark performance facility on the campus of the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL). The Touhill was built to provide a performance home for campus events, academic programs, and regional arts organizations. The spectacular venue contains three performance spaces; the Anheuser-Busch Performance Hall with 1600 seats, the flexible E. Desmond and Mary Ann Lee Theater with seating for up to 375, and the open-form Whitaker Hall with seating for up to 250. The Center hosts an average of 150 events, 230 performances, and 105,000 visitors per year.
The Touhill staff provides event management, marketing, and audience development services for the College of Fine Arts and Communication (COFAC) and the resident companies. In addition, the staff manages several collaborative relationships and programs that, along with campus and community partners, to bring together a diverse season of dance, theatre, music, festivals, and special events. There is a particular focus on engagement, education, and building connections between the academic, local, and national performance levels.
Fast Facts About the Touhill
- The building is named after former UMSL Chancellor Blanche M. Touhill. She served as chancellor from 1990-2002 and was instrumental in obtaining funding and support for the Center.
- I.M. Pei, Cobb, Freed and Partners, the architectural firm that designed the Touhill, also designed the pyramid addition to the Louvre in Paris, Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C., and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.
- The Touhill hosts an average of 150 events per year with 230 public performances.
- The Touhill is visited by over 105,000 patrons, participants, and artists each year.
- One million people visited the Touhill in its first decade of operation.
- The Center took three years to build and was completed in 2003 for a cost of 52 million dollars.
- The Center’s total square footage is 123,000 square feet.
There are three performance spaces within the Center:
- The Anheuser-Busch Performance Hall; a proscenium style road house with 1600 seats
- The E. Desmond and Mary Ann Lee Theater; a flexible space with seating up to 375
- Whitaker Hall; an open form studio space with seating up to 250
- The Terrace Lobby can also be used for events seating up to 350 for lunch or dinner.
- There are 20 dressing and artist support rooms allowing for 106 performers to be sat at a mirror at one time.
- Front of House operations are supported by a 150 member volunteer guild. Our dedicated volunteer corps donates an estimated 8,500 hours annually, serving as friendly greeters, ticket takers, and ushers.
- The Touhill employs over 30 students to assist with administration, ticket sales, front of house, and backstage services.
- Approximately 60% of the Center’s usage is for academic and UMSLy events.
- A third of the Center’s usage is by non-profit community organizations.
- Nearly 40,000 K-12 students experience the performing arts through Touhill efforts, either attending school performances or through the outreach of our Resident Artists.
- In the average year, the Touhill makes over 3,000 deeply discounted tickets to over 50 different productions available to UMSL students. For $10 or less, students with a valid UMSL ID can see the best in international and national artists when they perform on the Touhill stages.
- The Touhill donates over $15,000 worth of tickets to area charities annually, contributing to various fundraisers and help underserved communities.